Normally, I would have to work on Christmas. This is a fact that I've gotten used to with living in non-Christian countries over the past 13 years. This year, Christmas fell on a Friday which is the weekend here. For the first time since my kids were old enough to have a concept of Christmas, I could spend Christmas morning with them. So naturally, I planned a bike ride with one of my friends. That didn't go over very well with my wife so that got canceled.
For the most part, we had a relaxing day with the kids. We let them ride their new bikes along the walkway near the beach. It was the first time that I've experienced warm weather on Christmas apart from one year when I was a kid and it was 60 degrees and my mom wouldn't let me wear shorts. I wished I'd have worn shorts this year because I was a little warm walking in the sun.
We eventually ended up at another really big park near our apartment. I've seen it a little, but it's on the other side of a hill on a busy street so I never really had the chance to go there. It was a pretty sizable park with a whole bunch of different playground equipment and now that we know where it is, we have a new place to take the kids.
For those of you who are wondering, Christmas is widely celebrated here. While shopping malls don't seem to decorate as much as in Japan, it is easier to actually buy decorations and other Christmas stuff. Also, the city left up the white, red and green (the U.A.E. national colors) lights from National Day earlier this month so it actually looks a bit a bit Christmas-like. There is some speculation as to whether that's done on purpose, but I like to think that it is. Even though most of the locals don't celebrate Christmas, they respect and understand those who do. I also like that unlike in Japan, they don't try and make co-opt it into the culture without really understanding it. Instead, they make the decorations available, step back and let people do what they will.
Merry Christmas everybody.